Friday Open Thread

“There could be no honor in a sure success, but much might be wrested from a sure defeat.”

–Ann Landers

Coup Attorney John Eastman Charged By California Bar

John Eastman speaking at the January 6th, 2021 protest to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

A press release moments ago from the California State Bar announced the filing of 11 misconduct charges against attorney and former University of Colorado Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy John Eastman over Eastman’s role in plotting the failed legal strategy behind ex-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections:

The State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona announced today the filing of a Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC) against attorney John Charles Eastman (State Bar No. 193726). The 11 charges arise from allegations that Eastman engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states.

Specific charges allege that Eastman made false and misleading statements regarding purported election fraud, including statements on January 6, 2020, at a rally in Washington, D.C., that contributed to provoking a crowd to assault and breach the Capitol to intimidate then-Vice President Pence and prevent the electoral count from proceeding.

The Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) intends to seek Eastman’s disbarment before the State Bar Court.

In March 2022, Cardona invoked a public protection waiver to announce that an investigation of Eastman was underway. Eastman now faces multiple charges that he violated Business and Professions Code section 6106 by making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.”

“There is nothing more sacrosanct to our American democracy than free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” said Cardona. “For California attorneys, adherence to the U.S. and California Constitutions is their highest legal duty. The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land—an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy—for which he must be held accountable.”

Eastman, who after drawing on CU’s payroll inserted himself into Colorado Republicans’ legal squabbles, and association with defeated 2022 gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl accelerated Ganahl’s historic crash and burn, joins former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in facing disbarment over ethical breaches committed while attempting to keep Trump in office past his constitutional expiration date. Both New York and California have robust attorney regulation oversight. Less clear as of this writing is the fate of the third principal attorney who worked closely with Giuliani and Eastman to help overturn the 2020 election, Colorado traffic court lawyer-turned “constitutional scholar” Jenna Ellis of Colorado Christian University. A complaint seeking Ellis’ disbarment was filed almost a year ago with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.

Ellis, who was in on the Trump coup plot up to her eyeballs and authored her own legal strategy for blowing off the results of the 2020 elections, deserves the same sanction. The lack of repentance among all of these figures after their unprecedented and violent attempt to overthrow American democracy cries out for the maximum lawful penalty.

Unless he’s a damned fool, Eastman’s not smirking anymore. And that’s a measure of accountability.

Pettersen Lands Spot on “A-List” Committee

Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

Democrat Brittany Pettersen, a freshman lawmaker from Lakewood now representing CO-07, picked up an important committee assignment this week.

As POLITICO explains:

Democrats also named their rosters for the most desired “A” committees — Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means…

…Just two freshmen — Reps. Wiley Nickel (N.C.) and Brittany Pettersen (Colo.) — nabbed a spot on one of the panels. They both landed on Financial Services.

This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for Pettersen to be one of two freshmen — along with the fantastically-named Rep. Wiley Nickel — to earn an assignment on one of the four most influential House committees (Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means).

Only one other Member of Congress from Colorado sits on one of these top four committees: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is a member of the House Energy & Commerce committee.

Congressman Joe Neguse of Boulder was also recently appointed to the House Rules Committee, which is sort of like a “B-Plus Committee” but with the caveat that he’s going to have to deal with a whole lot of crazy; Reps. Chip Roy, Thomas Massie, and Ralph Norman are among the Republican members of the House Rules Committee.

Bennet, Hick Play Hardball Over Space Command

Sens. John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet.

As Byrant Harris reports for Defense News, the battle over ex-President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Alabama as a reward to that state’s MAGA loyalists and a snub to our own state after Trump’s back-to-back defeats, continues with Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper bucking the Biden administration for a course change:

Republican lawmakers spent the last year stalling President Joe Biden’s defense nominees, but the latest threat to filling the Pentagon’s top jobs is coming from the president’s own party.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said he’s threatening to delay the six remaining Pentagon nominees because Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin refuses to meet with him over the Trump administration’s decision to move U.S. Space Command from its current location in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama…

Bennet and fellow Colorado Democrat Sen. John Hickenlooper joined Republicans in voting “no” on [Brendan] Owens because their letters to Austin have gone unanswered.

Thomas Novelly of reports that blocking assistant Defense Secretary nominee Brendan Owens succeeded in getting the DoD’s attention: learned Wednesday that Bennet’s office has since been in communication with the Pentagon following the senator’s vote against Owens. [Pols emphasis] The Trump-era call to move Space Command headquarters has been dragging on for two years, with a final decision — supposedly — right around the corner…

In August 2021, while speaking on an Alabama radio show, Trump said the move was his decision, which sparked speculation that the former president may have intervened in the process for choosing the base, something that could have given ammunition to legal challenges.

“Space Force — I sent to Alabama,” Trump told the “Rick & Bubba” radio show at the time. “I hope you know that. [They] said they were looking for a home, and I single-handedly said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama.’ They wanted it. I said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama.'”

To be clear, nobody is accusing the Biden administration of continuing to prosecute ex-President Trump’s political vendettas. This seems to us to be more a case of bureaucratic inertia, no doubt with some heavy lobbying from Alabama who would very much like the economic lift of Space Command in their state–despite Trump having turned it into a political football right before leaving office in disgrace. Unfortunately for Alabama, Trump’s actions in context have tainted the decision to move Space Command there. Even devoted MAGA toady Rep. Doug Lamborn agrees that Trump’s last-minute act of treachery against Colorado should not be allowed to stand.

Colorado’s interests are being aggressively represented in Washington. Neither side can call that a bad thing.

Colorado Republicans: Still With the Election Fraud Conspiracies

State Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-ambling buffoon)

Colorado Republicans and their historic new micro-minorities began the 2023 legislative session by demonstrating that they had learned absolutely nothing from their 2022 election drubbing. The problem is particularly bad in the State House, where GOP lawmakers bring up their opposition to abortion rights at every opportunity — a position that is at odds with the vast majority of Colorado voters — and overthink even simple propositions such as their baffling refusal to co-sponsor a completely benign resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perhaps it should be no surprise, then, that House Republicans are once again talking about election fraud conspiracies. Last week a joint hearing of the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee went off the rails for Republicans when Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold appeared in front of the committee for her regular SMART Act hearing (State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent Government Act). Republican Reps. Ken DeGraaf and Scott “There is No” Bottoms — both of Colorado Springs — used the opportunity to deliver more than 10 minutes of indecipherable rantings about alleged election fraud.

We’re not exaggerating here. Neither DeGraaf nor Bottoms seemed to have much of a grasp on the theories behind their allegations. DeGraaf was particularly nonsensical; at several points, Griswold would have been completely justified in responding, I literally have no idea what you are saying right now.

You can listen to the exchange yourself, or follow along with our transcription below:



DeGraaf begins his ranting with this line:

DEGRAAF: “Questions are not necessarily conspiracy theories.”

This might have been the only cogent thing that came out of DeGraaf’s mouth. What he did not say, but perhaps should have added, is this: But do all conspiracy theories necessarily require serious questions?

DeGraaf’s opening line is one that Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl often used in 2022 when talking about her concerns about election fraud during the 2020 election. Why can’t we just ask questions? she would say. Of course, this isn’t really about asking questions; Republicans are more interested in making statements and tossing around unsubstantiated allegations.

DEGRAAF: What we’re putting our votes into now is a black box. And it’s a black box – we can’t see the code, and we haven’t seen external audits of the code. It should be a very simple code, as Rep. Baisley said.

Yes, let’s definitely cite Mark Baisley’s rhetoric on election fraud. It was about one year ago that Baisley suggested that Colorado should wrap all voting machines in tin foil in order to keep out the aliens block wireless signals from altering votes, or something.


Boebert’s Mom Promotes Conspiracy That Buffalo Bills Player, Who Survived Heart Attack, Is Dead

(“Q-Mom” has some more deep thoughts – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mocking conspiracy theorists, Hamlin posted this picture with the caption, “Clone.”

The first time Lauren Boebert was asked about QAnon, she tried to brush it off, saying “that’s more my mom’s thing- she’s a little fringe,” before going on to say she herself hoped the conspiracy theory is real and that it could be good for America.

Nearly three years later, it appears that the congresswoman’s mother, Shawna Bentz, is still an avid conspiracy theorist.

She’s currently promoting the ludicrous theory being pushed by Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec that the NFL is covering up that fact that Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin actually died after collapsing during a game earlier this month and that a body double was used last week when cameras showed him cheering on his team from a suite.

Bentz posted a video of Hamlin waving his arms and asked, “Can this be done with broken ribs?”

In comments on Bentz’s post, she agreed with a man who wrote, “I’ve got a thousand bucks that says he’s been dead for weeks,” before implying that Hamlin’s supposed death was caused by the COVID vaccine.

Bentz replied, “yes, and the NFL made all those players get the JAB they are freaking.”


Thursday Open Thread

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”

–Lily Tomlin

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 25)

Enjoy the not-as-cold weather today, because temperatures are predicted to drop significantly by the weekend. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.




The Gazette “newspapers,” led by the Denver Gazette, are picking a public fight with The Denver Post in a strange attempt to increase stagnant readership numbers.


Colorado educators are badly in need of more assistance, as Denver7 reports:

The Colorado Education Association released its annual State of Education report and concluded the state’s education system is in a state of crisis.

The largest teachers union in the state — representing 39,000 public educators and school staff — says it is seeing a large number of educators who are considering leaving the profession because of low pay, staffing shortages, work load and safety issues — all problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers cite safety issues as their number one concern, followed by the consistent problem of low pay for educators. The Colorado Sun has more on the results of the new survey.


As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post, Democratic lawmakers at the State Capitol are looking at trying to eliminate bans on rent control in Colorado:

Nearly half of Colorado’s House Democrats have signed on to a bill that would allow local governments to enact rent control, repealing a decades-old prohibition and setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Jared Polis.

HB23-1115 does not institute any rent control or stabilization policies statewide. But it removes a state-level block on local officials rolling out one of their own, and it comes as lawmakers and Polis weigh an array of legislation to address Colorado’s growing housing crisis.

“Rents are too high,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, a Denver Democrat, eviction attorney and one of the bill’s primary sponsors. “And that does not just mean essential workers like grocery store workers and servers. It’s unaffordable for teachers and nurses.”

Mabrey, a freshman lawmaker, is joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, of Glenwood Springs, as prime sponsors in the House. Twenty other members — all Democrats — have also signed on. That list includes nearly all of the chamber’s leadership, including Majority Leader Monica Duran, Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon and the House’s two whips, Reps. Iman Jodeh and Andy Boesenecker.

The Colorado Apartment Association is one of the more vocal opponents of the idea of rent control, because of course it is.


As Colorado Newsline explains, a national debt default could be catastrophic for the economy, but House Republicans are still playing games with demands for spending cuts:

If Congress doesn’t come to an agreement before the default date, expected in early June, economists have warned it could have drastic repercussions for Americans and across the globe. The Treasury would no longer have borrowing authority to pay for the country’s bills in full and on time, which has not happened before in the country’s history.

“Global financial markets and the economy would be upended, and even if resolved quickly, Americans would pay for this default for generations, as global investors would rightly believe that the federal government’s finances have been politicized and that a time may come when they would not be paid what they are owed when owed it,” said Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi and Assistant Director Bernard Yaros in a September 2021 report that came out during the last round of debt limit brinkmanship.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, said in a town hall with news reporters that right-wing Republicans don’t want to “exert fiscal responsibility.” She said the debt ceiling was something people on both sides of the aisle always agreed on until the Tea Party Republicans fought raising it in 2011, like she said the MAGA Republicans are doing now.

DeGette said she’s “disturbed” by the rhetoric she’s heard from the far right and how a default could “wreak havoc” on the country’s economy.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) thinks the debt default concerns are overblown, which says more about Buck than it does about the problem at hand.



Click below to keep learning things…



The Real Southern Invasion: Anschutz Gazette vs. The Denver Post

A new social media ad campaign from the Denver Gazette, a recently-launched pseudopod of the conservative-leaning Colorado Springs Gazette owned by Republican billionaire major donor Phil Anschutz, is prompting widespread backlash as an unseemly disparagement of a fellow news outlet’s journalistic integrity:

These new ads directly targeting the Denver Post, Colorado’s longstanding newspaper of record and despite its own struggles to remain in operation consistently delivering some of the best news content in the state, are just the latest development in the Gazette’s parent company Clarity Media’s well-funded attempt to wedge itself into the Denver news market with slanted news coverage and the most outrageous fringe-right editorial board west of the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post. It’s a strategy that Anschutz formerly tried and failed with the Washington Examiner, which will never supplant the Washington Post no matter how hard they try:

The Fox News-style “fair and balanced” message from the Gazette makes it plain what audience they are pandering to, namely conservatives who have been taught to instinctively reject news outlets who report things they don’t like–but that isn’t as much of a surprise as the Gazette openly attacking the integrity of another news outlet to attract that audience. This is potentially very damaging to the Gazette’s remaining credible news reporters and their relationships with colleagues, as well as possible collateral damage to the Gazette’s partnership with Denver’s leading local television station 9NEWS.

And why is it happening, you ask? From what we can see in the statistics from the last six months compiled by SEMRush, the Denver Gazette is failing miserably in its attempt to penetrate the Denver media market.

According to these stats, in the last six months, while other Denver news outlets enjoyed healthy election-year boosts in their web traffic, the Denver Gazette basically cratered. And it wasn’t for a lack of trying, with the Gazette’s parent company Clarity Media spending big on billboards and other ad formats in addition to the social media ads highlighted above over the past two years since it launched.

In the context of the Denver Gazette’s failure to thrive in the Denver media market, these attacks are even more pathetic, enough to give us pause about amplifying their quest for attention. But with a major municipal election around the corner, Denver voters need to be aware of the Gazette’s true purpose, which is to supply friendly coverage and ad quotes for Phil Anschutz’s right-wing political objectives. There is no parallel between those ulterior motives and the newsroom at the Denver Post, which has taken on its own hedge fund owners when necessary. Compare that to the dead silence from the Gazette’s properties about Phil Anschutz’s lawsuits to claw back millions from Colorado tax coffers.

This desperate attack by a clearly failing venture deserves to backfire.

Take this garbage back to Colorado Springs.

Oversight Committee Chair Pre-Emptively Disses Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert with reality-based friends MyPillow Guy, Rudy Giuliani, and couptastic attorney Jenna Ellis.

As the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner’s Marisa Schultz reports today, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House Oversight “Q-mittee,” to which newly-installed Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy appointed nether-right rivals Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, is laying down a warning to the committee’s newest crackpot conspiracy theorists that evidence-free flights of fancy won’t be tolerated:

The House Oversight Committee chairman leading investigations into President Joe Biden said his panel being stacked with “MAGA” firebrands will not undercut the seriousness of the committee’s work.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY) brushed off reports that the White House was celebrating the appointment of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to his committee, saying he talked to the newest and most outspoken members about keeping the committee on track.

“They’re all passionate about oversight,” Comer said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “And I’ve spoken with them, and I said: ‘We’ll probe and investigate lots of things, but nothing’s going on Oversight stationary unless there’s evidence to back it up.’” [Pols emphasis]

It’s a pre-emptive admonition that seems to concede some of these new members like Greene and Boebert would be perfectly fine wasting the Oversight Committee’s precious time with “MyPillow Guy”-grade conspiracy theories if not kept on a short metaphorical leash. Which calls into question their suitability to service on the House Oversight Committee to begin with, but as readers know it wasn’t Rep. James Comer’s decision to make.

Can Chairman Comer hold the “MAGA Qaucus” blowhards installed on his committee to his word, and keep their investigations rooted in evidentiary reality? Can MTG and Boebert restrain their deepening personal animus long enough for the Oversight Committee to do its job credibly trolling the Biden administration? Or will the Jewish space lasers rain fire like Elijah called down from Heaven to impress the backsliding prophets of Ba’al?

Put on your hip waders and stay tuned.

Lamborn Settles Staff Lawsuit, But Ethics Troubles Not Over

UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog:

Allegations raised in the lawsuit remain under investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, which announced a year ago that it would review charges Lamborn misused official resources for personal purposes, including requiring congressional staffers to perform tasks for the Lamborn family and his campaign, and that he “solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.” The lawsuit also alleged Lamborn let his son live rent-free in the basement of the U.S. Capitol…

“While plaintiff and defendant disagree strongly about the allegations and defenses made during the Lawsuit, the parties engaged in mediation with a Magistrate Judge and jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator, to avoid the expense and burden of future litigation for all involved, including the public (taxpayers),” Sebastian said in a written statement…

A report released a year ago by the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the bipartisan House ethics committee investigate some of Pope’s allegations, following a determination that there was “substantial reason to believe” Lamborn and his wife had enlisted staff members to perform unofficial duties.


Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports on a settlement reached between Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and a staffer who alleged that Lamborn endangered the health of his staff by flouting COVID-19 guidances during the height of the pandemic–just one of the many personal indiscretions Lamborn is accused of, also using his staff for personal and family errands, and even allowing his son to sleep in a Capitol storage unit while staffed helped him get a job in Washington:

Brandon Pope claimed he was fired for complaining about Lamborn and the office’s unsafe approach to COVID-19 at a time when many other workplaces were allowing remote work, socially distancing and wearing masks…

“There has not been any admission of guilt or wrongdoing associated with this resolution,” said Cassandra Sebastian, Communications Director for Lamborn. “And Congressman Lamborn absolutely maintains that at all times, he and his office used best efforts to comply with all legal and ethical requirements.”

Confidentiality provisions preclude parties from revealing the details of the settlement, Sebastian added.

Confidentiality in an out-of-court settlement is nothing new, of course, but it’s politically bad enough that the case was not dismissed outright or otherwise resolved in a manner that fully vindicates Rep. Lamborn. This settlement does not. Brandon Pope’s lawsuit was well-founded enough to have resulted in a settlement. Most members of the voting public are legally savvy enough to understand what that means.

And even though this individual civil case against Lamborn has been settled with the parties enjoined from commenting, Pope’s allegations against Lamborn are the subject of an ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation that isn’t going away:

While the legal case has been settled, an ethics investigation into some of the allegations Pope made against Lamborn remains open. In his initial suit, Pope gave examples that he claimed showed Lamborn using office staff to conduct personal errands for his family, such as helping Lamborn’s son prep for job interviews, as well as run campaign errands.

It’s reasonable to suggest that dismissal of the civil case against Rep. Lamborn would have been a better outcome in terms of discouraging further scrutiny by the Ethics Committee than a confidential settlement. With the allegations made by Pope in no way refuted by the settlement, the Committee has an obligation now to fully investigate and if necessary sanction Lamborn for his behavior.

Every taxpayer paid for Lamborn’s alleged abuse of office, not just Lamborn’s staff.

Denver Bishop Blames ‘Transgender Ideology’ for Fewer Number of Churchgoers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

By Isabel Lanzetta, Colorado Times Recorder

Denver Archbishop Samuel J Aquila hosted a Memorial Mass Sunday to mark what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

People filtered into the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at midday, waiting for the 12:30 Mass to begin.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila

During his sermon, Aquila targeted Critical Race Theory and the transgender community, blaming each for the diminishing number of churchgoers.

“We wonder why our Churches are empty,” he stated. “Whether it is the CRT, [or] transgender ideology …. we have failed to belong to Jesus Christ.”

Aquila then called on attendees to pray for increased church involvement in government.

“Last March, in 2022, I asked all the archdiocese to pray to end the decision [Roe v. Wade] and to putting Jesus first in our Congress,” he stated. “And if you have not prayed yet with me, I encourage you to pray.”

Aquila encouraged those present to recognize the dignity of every human being, “whether it be the homeless … the immigrant …. the woman who is pregnant outside of wedlock … [or] the prostitute.”

RELATED: Denver Bishop Says It’s An ‘Act of Charity’ To Tell Gay And Trans People They ‘Don’t Conform To Nature’

After the November 19 shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Aquila published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he denied accusations that the Catholic Church promoted homophobic and transphobic rhetoric that has contributed to hate crimes.

In the piece, Aquila wrote, “Our critics charge that the Catholic Church is discriminating against those who identify as gay or transgender, but it isn’t discriminatory to tell someone you think his beliefs don’t conform to nature—it’s an act of charity.”


Tuesday Open Thread

“At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

What’s STILL Happening to Colorado Republicans

As we’ve discussed at length in this space, Colorado Republicans have a long road ahead of them following the 2022 “Bluenami” that wiped out GOP candidates up and down the ballot. We keep looking for examples that the Colorado GOP understands its predicament and is willing to make the type of changes necessary to become competitive again, but we haven’t seen many signs of life thus far.

In a column published today in National Review, Republican Sage Naumann tried to explain how things got so bad in Colorado and what needs to be done to make them better for Republicans. Naumann is a former communications staffer for state legislative Republicans who transitioned to working for the GOP consulting firm called the “76 Group” in 2022 (the “76 Group” is run by longtime Republican consultant Josh Penry). We’ll give Naumann credit for trying to address the Republican problems in Colorado, but what makes his column for National Review truly insightful is what gets glossed over or swept under the rug entirely. This isn’t a Sage Naumann problem so much as it is a reflection of a larger issue for Colorado Republicans as a whole.

Let’s dig in, shall we?